Arkansas GDP increased at a 1.3% annual rate in the first quarter, slightly higher than the nationwide average of 1.2%. Arkansas’ growth rate ranked #23 among the 50 states. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that GDP growth was positive in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Growth rates ranged from a high of 3.9% in Texas to a low of -4.0% in Nebraska.
Although Arkansas growth rate in the first quarter was above the national rate, GDP growth had been running below the national average in the second half of 2016. As a result, the latest reading on year-over-year growth shows Arkansas up only 0.3% compared to 2016:Q1, with U.S. GDP up 1.9% over the same period.
In its news release, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the nation’s growth rate slowed in the first quarter, with finance and insurance, retail trade, and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting leading the deceleration. As shown in the table below, Arkansas was an exception to the pattern of slow growth in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. The sector breakdown for Arkansas also showed relatively strong growth in nondurable goods manufacturing. Sectors showing negative growth in the first quarter included retail trade and management of companies and enterprises.